Lisbon Declaration on Cities for all: building cities for citizens and visitors

Lisbon Declaration on

 Cities for all: building cities for citizens and visitors

We, representatives of the cities of Barcelona, Bruges, Brussels, Dubrovnik, Helsinki, Krakow1, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Porto, Prague, Punta del Este, Lisbon, Tbilisi, São Paulo and Seoul; the Secretariat of Tourism of Argentina and the Secretariat of Tourism of Spain; the Ministry of Economy of Portugal, UNESCO, UN-Habitat, the World Bank, the European Committee of the Regions, -meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 5, 2019, on the occasion of the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism,


Recalling that,


  1. According to the United Nations, in 2015, 54% of the world’s population lived in urban areas and that by 2030 this share is expected to grow to 60%;


  1. Alongside rapid urbanization, the growth of the tourism sector in recent years, driven by affordable transport costs, increased mobility, travel facilitation, new technologies such as digital platforms for property renting and hospitality services and a growing middle class, has made cities increasingly popular tourism destinations;


  1. The wealth generated from both domestic and international tourism contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of many cities and its surroundings and that urban tourism is also an important driver of cultural promotion and preservation;


  1. The growth of urban tourism also creates important challenges in terms of the use of natural resources, environmental changes, socio-cultural impact, fair working conditions, pressure on infrastructure, mobility, peace and security, congestion management and the relationship with host communities;


  1. The creation of ‘Smart Cities’ holds enormous potential to generate a positive impact on citizens’ lives and visitors’ experiences by making cities more livable, manageable, sustainable and accessible;


  1. The principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism aimed to maximise the sector’s benefits while minimising its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe; and


  1. Tourism can contribute significantly to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and namely to Goal 11 – ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’.


UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism




Agree to work towards


  1. Ensuring that urban tourism policies are aligned with the United Nations New Urban Agenda and the 17 SDGs, namely Goal 11 on “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, making the SDGS the common framework to align all relevant actors in urban tourism;


  1. Aligning urban tourism development with the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism;


  1. Promoting the inclusion of tourism in the wider city agenda as a means to make tourism a true contributor to the development of inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities;


  1. Setting governance models for urban tourism that engage administrations at all levels– national, local and regional authorities, tourism and other relevant administrations, the private sector and local communities;


  1. Foster evidence-based communication and collaboration mechanisms among all relevant stakeholders, including national, regional and city authorities, private sector, local communities and tourists;


  1. Enhance the integration of local communities in the tourism value chain, promoting their engagement in the sector and ensuring that tourism translates into community based wealth creation and decent jobs;


  1. Promoting the contribution of tourism in the creation of cities as spaces that foster cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, innovation and the generation and exchange of knowledge;


  1. Fostering sustainable practices that promote a more efficient use of resources and a reduction of emissions and waste within the framework of the circular economy;


  1. Maximizing the use of big data, – while respecting visitors privacy – and technology to better plan, measure and manage urban tourism and promoting evidence-based decisions and planning on key issues such as carrying capacity, housing, mobility, management of natural and cultural resources and residents’ attitudes towards tourism;


  1. Investing in technology, innovation and partnerships to promote smart destinations – making the best of technology to address governance, sustainability, accessibility, ‘soft’ mobility, and innovation – while ensuring full integration and alignment with the wider city policy ;


  1. Promoting innovative tourism products and experiences and the use of digital tools and platforms that allow the city to diversify demand in time and space, promote longer stays and attract the right visitor segments according to its long-term vision and strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals;


  1. Advancing the measurement and monitoring of urban tourism in order to ensure sustainable development of destinations in a relevant and timely manner;


  1. Considering tourists as ‘temporary residents’ and ensuring tourism policy promotes the engagement of visitors and residents in a holistic manner;


UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism








  1. Considering host communities as ‘permanent residents‘, ensuring tourism policy promote also the engagement of the local communities in a holistic manner;


  1. Encouraging Mayors, local and regional authorities and all relevant stakeholders involved in the tourism sector, from around the world to join in a common effort to building sustainable urban tourism and cities for all – citizens and visitors’.


We express our gratitude to the Ministry of Economy of Portugal and the Lisbon Municipality for their kind hospitality and their leadership in hosting the UNWTO Mayors Forum ‘Cities for all: building cities for citizens and visitors’.